May 06, 2010
Phoenix 110, San Antonio 102; Phoenix leads series 2-0
It wasn't a purely defensive victory, though it sure looked that way.
The way Grant Hill(notes) helped, you know; believe the hype. This guy shows and goes in a way we just haven't seen throughout the length of his career. Not even when he was fully healthy. He helps, he moves, he gets back to his guy, he holds Manu Ginobili(notes) to 2-8 shooting.
And yet ...
San Antonio piled up nearly 110 points per 100 possessions. That's a mark that would put them in the top three on the regular season, and though the Suns looked pretty mischievous all night on the defensive end, understand that the Spurs still put up points.
Phoenix put up more. Because, shock, horror, this is a better all-around team.
No standouts amongst the standouts. Twenty-one and 11 for Amar'e, 16 and six assists for Nash. Grant Hill had a sound fourth quarter and finished with 18, while Jason Richardson(notes) continued to stay white hot, ending the night with 19 points, making three 3-pointers in six tries.
No, it was the bench that pushed the Suns over the edge.
You saw it. Jared Dudley(notes) played like it was the final preseason game, and the Suns had one roster spot left to fill. Tapped and moved and grabbed and pushed and won, won, won. Made it so the Suns didn't fall apart, down double digits, with Nash and the rest of the starters on the bench in the first half. Absolutely crushed the San Antonio front line, made it so Matt Bonner(notes) could not and will not make eye contact with Gregg Popovich from now until next October.
Goran Dragic(notes) pushed things, and Channing Frye nailed shot after shot. Not trying to sound the know-all, but I have to admit that in each of Frye's five three-point makes, I said "yep" as the ball was leaving his hands. Why? Elbow under the rock, shoulders squared. When he does it right, it's so, so right. It's worth three points.
The Spurs? They just couldn't cover everything. Weren't able to keep up on the screen and roll, weren't able to guard that three-point line. Just a team out of time.
A team heading home after losing twice on the road. A team that's done it before -- remember the Hornets -- and can handle its own in Texas.
Goodness, gracious, sakes alive am I enjoying this series.